New Shale Trail in West Lothian

The Shale Trail is a new 16 mile way marked trail across West Lothian linking sites, features and communities relating to the area’s rich oil shale heritage. Visit the Shale Trail website for more information including maps of the trail, and an introduction to West Lothian’s rich cultural, historical and scientific heritage.

You can find wonderful stories of Scotland’s Oil Rush on the Shale Trail website or by using the QR codes on each of the waymarker posts. There are also stories compiled by children from West Lothian’s schools, including about the geology of the area. There are links on the marker posts to these too.

Hutton Series on Climate Change at Panmure House

The Hutton Series on Climate Change is a series of events taking place across 2020-21 at Adam Smith’s Panmure House, bringing together a diverse cross-section of experts, business leaders, scientists, and concerned citizens in the service of one simple aim: to identify ten key priorities, innovations & actions to mitigate the climate crisis.

Report from session 1 (Tuesday 6 October) is available here.

The second session is on Tuesday 1 December, 2-4pm: the Response from the Financial Sector. Keynote speakers for this second session are Keith Skeoch, Chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investments Research Institute, and Kirsty Hamilton, former Director of the Low Carbon Finance Group. Each will talk for 5 minutes, before taking questions and participating in a debate panel, led by Professor Heather McGregor (Executive Dean, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University).

This event will be hosted virtually by Panmure House and simultaneously live-streamed as an interactive webinar via Facebook and the Panmure website. The broadcast will be recorded and readily available on-demand up to 48 hours after the live event.

Find out more and Register

Books and maps from Ian Jackson’s collection

Ian Jackson, a long standing EGS member and a former Publications Sales Officer and Council member, died in the summer. He had an collection of geological books, maps and memoirs. We are sure that Ian would like these to be used by others interested in geology and members who would like books and/or maps are invited to ask for them.

Please visit to browse what is available and for details about how to request items. Donations are requested for EGS funds: EGS Council will discuss the appropriate use of all donations received for example in making additional grants to students in 2021.

EGS Publications

Publications orders: free postage for UK members

EGS PublicationsSince we are not able to gather for lectures this winter, all orders from EGS members in the UK for Excursion Guides and Books from our online shop will be posted for free. Members also benefit from a 20% discount on all purchases.

Head over to the Excursion Guides and Books page to browse the wide selection on offer, from poetry to the geology of the Moine. You may well find a gift for yourself or someone else!

Sorry this offer is only available to EGS members in the UK. Not a member? That is easy to rectify  – Join Us!


New leaflets for the Berwickshire coast

Virtual Festival of Geology – Saturday 7 November 2020

Enjoy the free virtual Festival of Geology from the comfort of your own home. Including a Discovery Room with live workshops, experiments, downloads and the Passport Challenge. Live talks throughout the day. Uncover hidden gems through various stalls and explore the exhibits and festival activities from societies, universities and museums from across the UK.

‘Boring’ geology in Glasgow & EGS’ winter lecture programme

Not quite what it may seem, but BGS’ geologists would appear to be doing some interesting new work beneath Glasgow. We have heard directly about plans for this work as part of our previous lecture programme. This BBC news website article from its science section contains some beautiful images from the cores taken from beneath Glasgow. A link to this article is given here.

BGS’ geologists drilling at UK Geo-energy Observatory in Glasgow

A reminder that this year’s winter lecture programme 2020/21, will contain a talk by the BGS’ Alison Monaghan on ‘Drilling into mines for heat: the UK Geo-energy Observatory in Glasgow’ on 3 February 2021. This will be joint meeting with the Mining Institute of Scotland.

Before then and to kicking-off our winter lecture programme on Wednesday 14th October will be a lecture on ‘The Falklands Plateau: its role in the break-up of Gondwana – and other geological controversies’ to be presented by Dave McCarthy (BGS) . This meeting will be held virtually and more details can be found at our lectures page.

Hopefully these lectures and others over the winter will indicate that the geology beneath Glasgow (and Edinburgh) is far from ‘boring’.

The Nigel Trewin Memorial Lecture 2020

From the President

It is with great pleasure that I put pen to paper as president of the Edinburgh Geological Society. At the same time it is a great shame that we cannot all meet together to discuss all things geological but as a geological society we are adapting to the times and that there is really a great deal that our members can get involved with.

I returned to work in the lab at the Grant Institute recently expecting it to be a big change in scene following more than four months away. What I soon realised was that it really wasn’t that different to what I have at home – specimens scattered here and there (in order and neatly labelled of course), books on the bookshelf on various palaeontological and geological subjects and cupboards full of ingredients for preserving and conserving fossils (I don’t keep these in my kitchen cupboards!). I appreciate that not everybody will have all this in their home but it made me realise that there is actually an awful lot that we can do at home in pursuit of our interests.

Though travelling restrictions are largely lifted, my time since back in the UK has given me a greater appreciation of the rich and varied geology in our local neighbourhood and just how interesting and lucky I am to live in a part of the world where I can stroll for 15 minutes and find a coal seam that hasn’t been mined out. Of course, the internet is available to nearly all of us and through hours of idle geology googling I discovered that not only do I have 1m thick coal seam 11m under my house but there are also Carbonifeorus vertebrates preserved down there too! I encourage all to explore the hidden corners of their local neighbourhood for geological gems, build a home lab in their kitchen, do some geology and share it with everyone.

The BGS Geology of Britain viewer gives you access to 1:50,000 scale superficial and bedrock maps for the UK, and borehole records.

All that said, we cannot deny that the way we interact as a society has seismically shifted since the spring newsletter and this has sadly meant the last few lectures in our winter series and all of our summer field trips were cancelled. Despite this we have been able to interact as a society through Zoom and I see this becoming an invaluable tool for our lectures in the future and even (at the discretion of trip leaders) our field trips. David Wesbter’s virtual fieldtrip of Islay following our delayed Annual General Meeting was a great success and a fine example of how well it can work. That said, I’m sure most of us would agree that it doesn’t beat seeing the real thing and so within the limits of restrictions in place and through the hard work of Angus Miller, Ian Kearsley and David Graham we have a revised excursion programme for the lighter days of autumn.

There is no indication for the foreseeable future that the University of Edinburgh will be able to open up the Hutton Lecture theatre for our winter lecture series and so this will have to be virtual. Graham Leslie has cast his net far and wide to gather together a worthy and willing team to present their research and interests to us virtually. There are advantages to this approach in terms of accessibility but obviously the social side of geology for which we still yearn will have to put on hold for a bit longer.

It is not all doom and gloom however! The forthcoming Scottish Geology Festival promises to provide a feast of geological-related events as does the events presented by the Scottish Geology Trust. I thoroughly recommend visiting the Scottish Geology Trust website for news of upcoming events but also our very own EGS website! For those of you who are socially-media savvy our EGS twitter is a veritable rabbit hole of geological titbits that are guaranteed to stimulate the idle mind.

To finish on a very positive note indeed, we currently have the highest membership in living memory with a total of 627 current active members! This is an increase of more than 100 members from 10 years ago and a tribute to the hard work of all our those during this time who have helped promote our society in myriad ways.

Tom Challands, EGS President –